Home runs never get old, and the farther they travel, the better. Since Babe Ruth transformed baseball with his mighty swing, fans and players alike have reveled in the power of the long ball. A home run can erase a deficit, win over a crowd, end a game, and demoralize a pitcher (or an entire team) in one fell swoop. Heck, even the greatest pitchers of generations past realized the importance of the tater.
We keep hearing offense is down and majestic dingers are a thing of the past, but the start of 2015 has proven to be good times for anyone who likes titanic home runs. Not the kind where an outfielder thinks he has a shot, mind you; we’re talking about the ones where there is no courtesy jog toward the outfield wall. With the longest home runs, time stands still while everyone — often, the pitcher included — stops to admire the soaring path of the ball and, when all is right, its trajectory past an attendant moon.
Here are the five longest home runs of the 2015 season as of May 14. Distances were sourced at ESPN Home Run Tracker.
(tie) 4-5. Steven Souza, Jr.: April 14, Rogers Centre
We have seen towering home runs by the likes of Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista over the years at Rogers Centre, but this blast was launched by Steven Souza, Jr. of the visiting Rays. The promising young outfielder laid waste to Daniel Norris’s fifth pitch of the game with a tape-measure shot. Somehow, the Blue Jays’ Dalton Pompey realizes he has no chance late in the game, but we’ll forgive this trespass.
As with many great Rogers Centre home runs, this ball ricochets off the third deck, threatening to bust through one of the windows of the restaurant overlooking the playing field. You can see Norris slump immediately on the mound after Souza massacred the ball, which is the long-ball effect at its finest. The tape said it traveled 463 feet into the Toronto night.
(tie) 4-5. Edwin Encarnacion: April 21, Rogers Centre (tie)
Speaking of Edwin the Destroyer, Encarnacion made sure Souza’s distance mark did not stand for long with this ferocious blast to left field one week later. If you want to be technical about it, the ball landed in the fifth level of the Rogers Centre left field, making a rare appearance in the upper deck.
Encarnacion did his damage off Baltimore lefty Brian Matusz, whose heads snaps up to watch the ball of the bat before shooting straight down in disappointment. Another highlight from the video is watching the Orioles left fielder take a step and a half before realizing it would be pointless to move any further. Like the Souza bomb, Encarnacion’s home run traveled 463 feet before denting an empty seat.
3. Giancarlo Stanton: May 12, Dodger Stadium
For anyone who saw Giancarlo Stanton hit the ball out of Dodger Stadium on May 12, it might be difficult to imagine a ball travel any farther. It had that beautiful quality about that left everyone from announcer Vin Scully to left fielder Scott Van Slyke basking in home run glory. For his part, Van Slyke sort of ducked while he watched the projectile soaring above him, perhaps in fear it could strike a passing aircraft.
While no planes were harmed by this home run, it ended up clearing the seating section of Dodger Stadium and bouncing off the pavilion. L.A. starter Mike Bolsinger nearly incurred whiplash from watching the ball leaving Stanton’s bat. (Its exit velocity was clocked at 114 miles per hour.) Though the original Statcast projections were downgraded, Stanton did claim third place in 2015 with his 467-foot shot.
2. Josh Donaldson: April 25, Rogers Centre
Are you convinced the ball flies out of Rogers Centre yet? For the third entry out of Toronto in 2015, we watch Josh Donaldson pulverize a Chris Tillman offering to left-center field in the hitter-friendly park. Tillman looks like he received a body blow and refuses to look back at the ball, while the O’s left fielder jogs a few steps to admire the feat.
Fans on hand April 23 saw a quality game between the Orioles and Blue Jays, with Manny Machado crushing two home runs of his own to left. Though neither made this list, Machado’s second tater was estimated at 422 feet. To all ye pitchers: Beware of the Rogers Centre.
1. Alex Rodriguez: April 17, Tropicana Field
Early in the 2015 season, MLB pitchers were challenging Alex Rodriguez with fastballs up in the zone to see if there were any after-effects from his year-long suspension. A-Rod answered most of those questions on April 17, when he blasted two home runs at Tropicana Field before winning the game with a go-ahead single. For our purposes, we are focusing on the mammoth shot A-Rod launched in the first inning off Nathan Karns. In Tampa’s sparsely populated park, the crack of the bat sounds like music to a home run lover’s ears. Before long, everyone in the stands is looking behind them to see if the ball would ever land.
In a disappointing twist, Yankees announcer Ken Singleton focused on A-Rod’s new record for the ninth-most runs scored in MLB history rather than marveling at the Herculean feat that unfolded before his eyes. With all due respect, Ken, we’re not interested in A-Rod’s career stats. We simply want to know how far that A-bomb went and the fact only one person ever hit a longer home run at Tampa’s Tropicana Field. By the time it landed, the ball had traveled 477 feet, the longest of the 2015 season to date.
Source: ESPN Stats and Information Group